This afternoon, as we drove past our local UU church, The Who noticed the rainbow flag that it flies out on its lawn to indicate that it is a “Welcoming Congregation” (i.e. a congregation that “want[s] to take intentional steps to become more welcoming and inclusive of people with marginalized sexual orientations and gender identities.”) He asked me why the flag was there.
“It’s a rainbow flag that shows that they are a place that welcomes gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer people.” I started with this and waited to see what he would do with it. As far as I know, he doesn’t really have much of a context for any of those terms, although he does know that families are made up of all different gender configurations.
He was quiet for a few seconds and then he asked, “But why would they even need to do that?”
I nearly cried. He doesn’t understand why anyone would have to go out of his or her way to make sure that people knew that a place specifically welcomed a group of people. He doesn’t even know that his parents are part of this group of people. He doesn’t know that there are politicians and neighbors and teachers and friends’ parents who think that his parents are deviants, unworthy of equal treatment and access to spaces.
“Well,” I began, not sure of how the rest of the sentence was going to form. “Some people don’t want to share their space with gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, or queer people.”
Immediately and confoundedly: “Why?”
“I’m honestly not sure, babe. People can make guesses about why, but I don’t really actually know. Mommy and I are lesbians and queer and we are happy to share our space with any kind of people. And we’re not completely sure why some people don’t want to.” (I didn’t want to start with my interpretations of how these seeds are planted and I don’t think he could digest it all anyway.)
More silence. Then: “Yeah! Me too! I will share my space with anyone! You and Mommy and Bella (his stuffed dog)! I like every kind of people.”
He is in for a rude awakening and it hurts my heart.